How to Make Faux Enamel Dots for Embellishing Anything

Faux Enamel Dots for paper crafts
Perler and Pony Beads

I was curled up on the couch this morning with a cup of Pumpkin Spiced coffee and Puck, my dog, trying to come up with some cheap embellishments for some of my handmade cards, and while brainstorming for ideas on Pinterest, I came across several methods for making enamel type dots using Perler and pony beads. Wow, I can do that, I have an oven, and more beads than I can possibly use in three lifetimes.

Perler Beads vs. Pony Beads

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I dug down deep into my stash and found that I not only have Perler Beads but I have some miniature pony beads as well, so it was time to start playing!
First, I tried both Perler Beads and pony beads and melted them in my kitchen oven. The Perler Beads I did at 275 for 30 minutes. They were not quite done at that time so I ended up watching them very closely and taking them out after about 45 minutes. These came out perfectly, as shown below.

Perler beads from oven
Perler beads from oven

The next thing I tried was the miniature pony beads I baked those at 425 for 5 minutes and they came out fairly well as shown below although there was some minor discoloration on some of the lighter colors. They are still mostly usable though.

Pony bead from toaster oven
Pony bead from a toaster oven

Next, I decided to try out my toaster oven. What I found was no matter how much experimenting I did with the Perler Beads with both time in the oven, the height of the tray and temperature, they just did not come out well. They always discolored and did not completely fill out into the round cabochon shape that I was going for. TOTAL FAIL! So I will not be doing any more of these in my toaster oven. I have seen where people have been able to do it but they are not coming out for me, and I know I can do them in my main oven, so I am over the whole toaster oven/Perler combination.

Perler beads in the toaster oven
Perler beads in the toaster oven

The pony beads, however, came out perfectly when I set them at 425 degrees in my toaster oven in merely 5 minutes for a small batch, and those I’m showing below. I will say however that the smaller batches seem to do better and I did have some slight discoloration when I tried to do a larger batch. Doing a small batch and watching them closely seems to be the key.

pony beads in oven
pony beads in a toaster oven

The next thing I’ll be doing is letting the pony beads that did not melt in the larger batch completely cool, and putting them back into the toaster oven.  For the most part this worked really well except for the black ones…what is up with that???

Black Pony Beads
Black Pony Beads

The other thing I noticed during this experimentation both in the oven and in the toaster oven is that the different colors of both the Perler Beads and the pony beads seem to melt and discolor at slightly different temperatures what I would do is from here on out is do several of the beads in the same color at the same time and not mix the batches.

Discolored Pony Beads
Discolored Pony Beads

This seems to give the most even result and the best result among the colors.
I would say I like the pony beads in my toaster oven best which I keep in my craft room for polymer clay and Shrink plastic.  I only need to do a few at any given time anyway, and they cool very quickly, so it is a win-win.

Double Perler Beads

The Perler Beads came out awesome in my oven my full-size oven in the kitchen and with those as shown below I have bought some of the mini perlers to use with the regular perlers and did some experimentation with mixing colors and you can see they came out very cool. I simply put the mini beads inside the larger Perler Beads and I now have multicolored beads.

Double Perler beads in oven
Double Perler beads from the oven

These will be a regular item I keep in my crafting arsenal, especially with the holidays coming up.  These will be perfect for many different crafts.  For now, I am off to make some more of these great enamel dots.    

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